Most people at some point question the meaning of life. Haven’t we all wondered about life in general and our purpose in it? Haven’t we all wondered about what we are doing in the larger scheme of things?
The phenomenon which makes us question these things is the ‘human’ factor in us. Only human beings are capable of ‘Consciousness’ and differentiating between right and wrong. Other species are pre-programmed into taking care of their basic physical necessities of sustenance.
Most people believe in destiny. Consequently, it is believed that destiny cannot be changed. Though this gives us strength to accept things that happen to us, but destiny can also be changed! Our past comes as destiny, but our future destiny is in our hands. We make our own destiny.
Looking at it holistically, there are four different layers of life, personality and good health. And if we take care of each of these four aspects, it will lead to ultimate happiness.
This is the most commonly known parameter of good health. When someone asks us how we are doing, the first thing we observe and analyse is how we are doing physically and whether we have any aches and pains. It is important to be fit and well in order to be active and happy. But the state of physical health also depends on how we are doing mentally.
This is an oft ignored parameter, though most important for maintaining good health. If we feel depressed, scared or worried all the time, we will feel tired and sleepy all the time and may also get eating disorders, leading to all kinds of physical ailments. So it is very important to keep our mind in peace and not in pieces!
This is a step ahead to mental health. Intellectual health is indicated by our CLARITY OF THOUGHT. It does not mean scoring well in exams. It means being objective about our surroundings. And having clarity about what is happening to us. For example, we are in good intellectual health if we are able to understand if someone, especially a loved one, is being abusive or taking advantage of us. We are in good intellectual health if we are aware of our surroundings. We are in good intellectual health if we want to protect ourselves in order to achieve the ultimate goal of happiness.
This is the final layer of good health. It is the ultimate bliss we experience, irrespective of whatever situation we are in by having the RIGHT ATTITUDE. This does not mean that we simply accept any treatment meted out to us and tell ourselves that we are happy. It truly means that we are alert to our own lives, take charge and do something about a situation that we do not want to be in.
Ultimately, we all are social beings with a lot of interaction with different types of people. While maintaining these relationships, we should not forget our independent happiness, be it our safety, our peace of mind, our interests and hobbies etc. These are key to our ultimate life goal of HAPPINESS.
Faced with a difficult situation, we need to have the right attitude towards handling it. Whether we accept the situation if it is beyond our control (for example – loss of a loved one or some unavoidable disease) or we fight the situation (for example – facing unfairness or failure).
Unless we stand upright to adversities and face them head-on, internal happiness will be a far-off destination. These four layers are interdependent. Physical health is the first step and has a lot of impact on the other three layers, but to a large extent the final layer of spiritual well-being and having the right attitude goes a long way in ensuring that our physical, mental and intellectual health are taken care of.
Only human beings can live consciously and intelligently to bring positive changes in his life. Our discriminating power helps in achieving this. We can live a well-rounded and holistic life by focusing on all the four layers together. Setting our ultimate goal as HAPPINESS of our inner self irrespective of external situations can be extremely positive and liberating.
Usha Shekar is a spiritual seeker and a student of Bhagvad Gita. She is based in Chennai, and can be contacted through Eyra.
*All images used in this article are either Eyra’s own design or widely and freely available on the internet.*